Online communities on competing platforms: Evidence from game wikis
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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- Scientific articles 
Original versionStrategic Management Journal. 2022, . 10.1002/smj.3442
Many platforms rely on volunteer contributions for value creation. Thus, unpaid contributors are valuable to the platform, but control over their activities is limited. We study whether and how volunteer communities can provide a competitive advantage and ask how contributor behavior depends on a platform's competitive position. We propose two channels: First, a stronger competitive position facilitates contributor coordination, leading to a larger active community. Second, a platform's competitive position is related to contributor motivation, which drives how much individuals contribute. Studying two competing game wiki platforms, we find that a platform's stronger competitive position is associated with higher activity, primarily driven by the number of contributors, which in turn triggers increased contributions by existing contributors. Further, high-productivity contributors are especially active on a stronger platform.